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Working with Scores

Transferring your forScore library to another device

If you’ve just upgraded to a new device, the best way to get up and running is to follow Apple’s setup instructions and restore from a recent iTunes or iCloud device backup, if available. If that isn’t possible, or if you prefer not to do so, you can use forScore’s Backup panel to migrate your data instead. The following two articles provide step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Backing up your data to your computer
Step 2: Restoring your library data from a forScore backup file

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Cropping pages to enlarge your music

Most PDF files contain white space around the edges, but these margins are more important for printing something out rather than displaying it on a screen. To crop individual pages within a PDF file, use Crop tool by following these steps:

  • Open the Tools menu (toolbox icon) and choose Crop
  • The app will attempt to detect the edges of the music and auto-crop the score
  • Use two fingers to zoom in or pan around and enlarge the page further if needed
  • Use the slider in the crop toolbar to adjust the skew of the page if needed
  • Tap the next page arrow to move through the rest of the file and make further page-specific adjustments if needed
  • Tap Crop when finished to save your changes

If you’d like to adjust the margins for all pages in a file at once, learn more about margin adjustment.

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Merging two or more files

With version 5 of forScore and later, you can merge multiple files into a single PDF:

  • Open the score menu and navigate to a view that shows all of the files you’d like to combine
  • Tap the edit button in the upper right corner of the menu
  • Tap to select the files you would like to combine in order from first to last
  • Tap the Merge button that appears when multiple PDFs are selected
  • The app will then prompt you to name the merged file and ask if you’d like to retain the source PDFs, then begin the merge operation

Please note: Merging files is limited to the processing and memory limits of your device, so this process may crash the app if the files being merged are too large for the device to handle. Merging only retains the metadata of the first file selected, and any metadata in the subsequent files will be omitted/deleted.

Lastly, if you need to change the location of one of the PDFs (e.g. place a missing page in the middle of an existing score), you can then use the Rearrange tool to edit the page order.

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Viewing two pages at a time

As of version 5.0, forScore includes an optional two-page or 2-up mode. While holding your device in landscape orientation, use the round button just to the left of the main toolbar’s title to switch between this mode and the default one-page view.

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Inverting the screen for low light environments

While forScore doesn’t have a “night mode”, iOS has an “invert screen” feature that may help. If you open the Settings app, under General, choose Accessibility. At the bottom of that panel, set the Accessibility Shortcut option to “Invert Colors” (in iOS 11 or later there are two options: Classic Invert Colors and Smart Invert Colors). Then, when using forScore, triple-click on the Home button on your device and it will invert the colors of the screen, setting white text on a black background.

For more information about Accessibility Features, see these articles on Apple’s website from the iPad User Guide:
Display Accommodations
Use Accessibility Shortcuts

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Linking audio to your scores with Music Binding

If you want to use an audio track with a particular piece, you can associate that track with the corresponding sheet music in forScore and control playback directly from within the app. Open the Metadata panel for the score or bookmark and select the “Audio” tab. Tap the round + button to select tracks from your iTunes music library, or tap the rectangular + button to view files stored in the app’s documents directory. (Audio files can be created using the record feature, imported from other apps, or transferred via iTunes file sharing.)

The media box updates every time you turn the page, disappearing if there is no track associated with the current score or bookmark, so you don’t have to spend time looking through your audio library every time you want to listen to it—just press play.

If multiple tracks are associated with the current score, swipe left and right over the album artwork to move between them.

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Managing a score’s setlist and library membership

The “setlists” tab in the metadata panel lets you quickly manage which setlists the current score is a part of. Tap a setlist to add the current score to it (a blue checkbox will appear) and tap it again to remove it. If you have multiple libraries set up, a similar “libraries” panel lets you manage library membership in the same manner.

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Using performance mode to focus on your music

forScore’s performance mode disables most gestures and controls to allow you to focus entirely on your music. The only functions available are paging forward and backward, and the forward page turn zone is enlarged to take up the right two-thirds of the screen. This makes it much easier to turn pages quickly and removes the possibility of unintentionally triggering annotations or other features.

To enable performance mode, swipe right to left in the control bar’s title display to see the shortcuts for common functions. Tap the “full screen” arrows button.

To exit performance mode, tap the blue X button in the upper right corner of the screen.

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Playing audio through other apps

Since forScore lets you automatically queue up a particular audio track when you view a score, it also takes control of the device’s shared music system (the music app) when it launches. If the track that’s currently playing in the background isn’t associated with the visible score, your audio will stop and forScore will get ready to play the right song, if applicable.

If you’d prefer that it not take control of the music system automatically, enable the “use external audio” option in forScore’s settings panel. Now, if a track is playing in the background and it’s not associated with the current score, it will continue playing and a circled “x” button will appear in the top right-hand corner of the media box. Tap it at any time to stop the external track and allow forScore to queue up the correct song, if applicable.

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Deleting Links from a score

To delete or reposition a link, enter annotation mode by choosing “Annotate” from the tools menu or by tapping and holding the page for a few moments. If the “erase” tool is selected, links will transform into delete buttons—tap on one to remove that link. If any other tool is selected, links appear as white circles that can be dragged around on the page. If you’d like to reposition the orange destination circle, delete the blue circle and recreate the link set.

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Sending and receiving MIDI signals

In the “MIDI” section of the metadata panel, you can assign a unique command to each score and open it with some MIDI devices. You can also save a list of commands to be sent out each time that score is opened. If you plan to use the same set of commands more than once, presets make it easy to save them and assign them to other scores later.

Note: USB-enabled MIDI devices can often connect to an iOS device via Apple’s Camera Connection Kit, while others may require an adapter like the iRig Midi.

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Using Console to access your library from your computer

Console is an app-hosted web interface that allows you to access your forScore library from the web browser on your computer, making it easy to edit metadata and organize your library from the comfort of your desk and a keyboard. This feature is available in the Tools menu in forScore, and tapping on it provides instructions for authorizing and accessing it through your web browser. Here are some additional tips:

  • If you have a dual-band router, make sure both devices are on the same band/frequency
  • Keep the Console screen open on your iOS device for the duration of your web access
  • Make sure you’re using the latest version of your browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer are supported)

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Sharing scores

Whether you want to share a file with a colleague, print out a score with all of your annotations, or send a copy to another app on your iPad, forScore’s Share function can help. To share one or more items, use any of the following methods:

  • Choose the “Share” option in the tools menu to share the score you’re currently viewing.
  • Tap the share icon (a box with an arrow pointing out of the top) on the right-hand side of the Metadata panel’s navigation bar. If you’re batch editing several files, this will share all of them at once.
  • While viewing a list of scores or bookmarks in most of forScore’s menus, swipe from right to left over an item and choose the gray “Share” option (available in forScore 10 or later).
  • In the Scores or Bookmarks menus, or while viewing the contents of a setlist in the Setlists menu, tap the “Edit” button on the right-hand side of the navigation bar, tap to select one or more items, and choose the “Share” option at the top of the list.

Any of these actions will prompt you to share your item (or items) as an unmodified PDF file, a permanently annotated PDF file, or using a special forScore-only “4SC” format that includes annotations, metadata, links, and more. Once you make your selection, a new popup will appear giving you a wide range of sharing options. This popup, called a “share sheet,” is provided by iOS and its contents depend on your device’s setup and which apps you currently have installed.

Common options include Mail, Messages, Print, and—if your device supports it—AirDrop (which lets you share files quickly with other iOS users in close proximity). You will also have the option to copy your file to any other PDF-compatible apps on your device, like iBooks or Dropbox.

In-Place Editing

As of forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4, sharing certain files with other apps may either send a new copy of the file to that app, or it may make forScore’s copy available for in-place editing (if the target app supports this). Changes made to your files in this manner are immediately reflected within your forScore library. In-place editing is not supported when sharing modified files, such as annotated PDFs or 4SC files.

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Offsetting page numbers to match printed copies

Some PDFs may contain extra pages at the start of the score that aren’t paginated in print. To compensate for this, tap on the Layout tab in the metadata panel, then tap the number next to “Page Number.” This allows you to set a page offset, so your page numbers will match any page numbers displayed in the file or on printed copies. For example, if the first two pages of a PDF show as roman numerals i and ii, enter “-1” in the field to offset the first page backward 2 steps from the PDF’s page 1.

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Playing music with repeats

You can use the Links tool to specify two points within a score and jump to that exact spot with a single tap. When you do, forScore will flash a small signal showing you exactly where to begin playing. You can also use the Rearrange tool to duplicate and re-order the pages of your score as needed so that the correct page is always a flip away.

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Using the Reflow feature

Although forScore can’t interpret the notes in a PDF file, it can detect where important information is generally on each page. With Reflow, forScore takes that information, magnifies and redraws it, then lays it out end-to-end so you can read your music in one long line—like a horizontal teleprompter. Reflow gets you most of the way there with its smart detection, and if it gets something wrong you can correct it quickly and never worry about it again.

To use Reflow, begin by enabling it in forScore’s settings panel, under ‘Accessibility.’ Once that’s done, Reflow will show up as an option in the tools menu and the main view’s title display.

Tip: The title display’s shortcut buttons are rearrangeable: tap the edit button on the far right of the second page of shortcuts to move the Reflow button to the first page for easy access.

Select Reflow in either location to begin using it and you’ll see a few new controls appear: Edit, zoom, navigation mode, and an exit button.

Editing Zones

The Edit button allows you to adjust Reflow’s zones if needed. You’ll see them as gray rectangles—tap once to see its resize controls, and tap again to show the delete option. Drag the green control at the top of each rectangle to downward to split it horizontally into two new areas.

You’ll see a control bar along the bottom of the screen: use the + button at the bottom of the screen to create a new zone, use the arrows to move between pages, and drag the set of three lines on either end of the control bar to drag it up or down and out of your way.

Zoom

Zoom in or out to find the best magnification for you—up to twice as large as the original page.

Navigation

Choose to page or scroll through your music. In Page mode, tapping on either side of the screen will shift the music over by half of your screen’s width. In Scroll mode, your music will scroll by continuously: tap the left side of the screen to slow it down or the right side to speed it up. Tap in the center of the screen to start or stop scrolling.

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How to replace a file but keep forScore data intact

Sometimes you may want to replace an existing file in your forScore library with a new version of the PDF, but keep any existing annotations and metadata intact. For example, a composer might rewrite a few measures of a new piece, but the changes aren’t significant enough to scrap all of your work with the original version.

Here’s how you can “live replace” a file using the iTunes File Sharing panel:

  • Export the file you’d like to modify in 4SC format to either email or a supported cloud service as a safeguard
  • Connect your device to your computer and force forScore to close completely using multitasking
  • Make note of the exact file name of the file you’d like to replace, and edit the new, revised PDF file to have the same exact file name
  • Using the iTunes File Sharing panel, add the new file to the forScore documents directory, and choose Replace when prompted
  • Once the file transfer is complete, disconnect your device and launch forScore
  • The revised file should show when selected, but with the existing annotations intact

If you’re using the Services panel, forScore will prompt you with options for handling duplicate file names. In this case, choose “Overwrite” and the app will replace the original PDF with the new one and keep any existing metadata in place.

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Fetching PDF metadata

PDF files sometimes contain their own information for title, author, subject, and keywords, which can be used by forScore as values for title, composer, genre, and tags respectively. If you’ve already imported a PDF file that might contain metadata, tap “Fetch…” above the keyboard while editing any field to see if any of this information exists and then decide if you’d like to use it or not. To automatically check for and use this information when a new file is added to your library, enable the “automatic fetching for new files” option in forScore’s settings panel.

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Fixing crooked scans

With forScore 10 you can use the Crop tool to not only remove excess margins around the page, you can also correct crooked scans by precisely adjusting the angle of the page. The slider at the top of the screen can be dragged left or right, rotating the page by up to 20° in either direction.

Note that while your annotations, links, and buttons will all be updated to align properly with the page, these changes are not backwards-compatible with forScore 9 or earlier. If you need to share files with colleagues using an older version of forScore, sending an annotated PDF is the best way to keep your edits intact.

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Letting forScore turn pages for you

forScore can turn pages for you automatically with two different tools: If you use the metronome, just enter in the number of beats per page, activate autoturn, and start the metronome. Once the metronome reaches the specified number, the page will flip. Learn more here: Turning pages automatically with Autoturn
 
If you’re using an audio track with your score, use Replay to automate your page turns instead—listen to the audio track once all the way through and turn pages when appropriate, then press play and watch as forScore moves from page to page at just the right moment. Learn more here: Using Replay to automate page turns

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Using tabs to view multiple files at once

forScore includes a tabs feature that works much like the tabs in your web browser. The tabs bar is hidden by default when there’s only one tab in use, but you can open an item in a new tab in a couple different ways. When viewing a menu, tap and hold an item with two fingers to see a preview pop up in the center of the screen, then tap the + button in the corner of the preview to open that item in a new tab. Or, when viewing an item’s metadata panel, you can also tap the + button in the corner of the page preview there to open it in a new tab.

Once the tab bar is visible, you can also tap the + button in the tab bar to open a new tab immediately. And if you’d like the tab bar to always show, there’s an option for that in the app’s settings panel.

With forScore 10 or later, you can also rearrange tabs: tap and hold one of them for a moment until it animates and grows larger, then drag it left or right as needed and lift your finger to drop it.

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Understanding alphabetical sorting

Alphabetical sorting in most of forScore’s menus works by skipping leading articles such as “a”, “an”, and “the”, much like a library catalog or book index. If you prefer, you can disable the “Smart sorting” option in the app’s settings panel to list the titles purely by first letter.

When viewing the list of composers, forScore also alphabetizes by last name (or the last word of a name). If you prefer to sort using the first name of each composer value, open the app’s settings panel and enable “sort composers by first name.”

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Deleting or replacing metadata

When you’re working with metadata, a box to the left of each field helps you understand and control what will happen to any existing information once you’re done editing. If it’s unchecked or empty, no changes will be made to your file for that specific type of metadata. If it’s checked, the file’s existing metadata will be replaced with whatever you’ve entered in. The best choice is selected for you automatically as you work with these fields, but you can tap the box at any time to change it. For instance, if you want to clear out any existing values for a field, delete the text and then tap the box on the left so it shows a check mark. This replaces the value that was there previously with the one you’ve entered in: nothing.

If you’re batch editing, the Composers, Genres, and Tags fields will toggle between the same “checked” state—meaning that existing values will be replaced with whatever you’ve typed in—and an “append” state (a plus symbol). In this case, the + indicates that the values you’ve entered in will be added to the selected files, and that all existing values will be preserved.

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Editing information with the metadata panel

In the score, bookmark, and setlist menus, tap the blue arrow button off to the right-hand side of any score or certain bookmarks to open the metadata panel where you can view and edit forScore’s information about that item. From the main screen, you can also tap the title in the menu bar for quick access to the current score or bookmark’s information.

Title

A score’s title is, by default, its filename minus the “.pdf” extension. If you change the title, forScore updates the filename to match as closely as possible (it adds a number if needed to ensure that the filename is unique).

Multiple Values

Items may have one or more composers, genres, tags, or labels. To use multiple values, separate them using commas within each text field. For instance, “tag 1, tag 2” is automatically separated and creates two entries (“tag 1” and “tag 2”) in the Tags list.

Other Metadata

Other values include rating and difficulty (which can be set by tapping or sliding your finger across their star or dot symbols), time, and key. In the Layout tab in the lower section of the metadata panel, you can also specify a page offset to account for a preface or title page.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks can be created by supplying a title, start page number, and an optional end page number. If no end page number is provided, the bookmark lets you quickly access that page but offers no additional abilities and does not maintain its own metadata values. If you do provide an end page, forScore creates a reference to that range of pages and treats them like any other score in your library: you can add metadata to them, add them to setlists, and more. (The rest of this section pertains to this second type of bookmark.)

There are a few differences between working with metadata for scores and bookmarks. Unlike with scores, a bookmark’s title has no relation to its PDF filename. Bookmark titles must be unique within their parent score, otherwise you can use any value you like. Page offsets are available for scores only, since the number of leading pages isn’t something that’s specific to a particular bookmark.

Batch editing

When you access the metadata panel from one of forScore’s menus, you’ll see a + button in the top right-hand corner that lets you select additional files and edit some of their values all at once. Batch editing is not available when you tap the title display to access the current item’s metadata.

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Working with large files

Several things can impact performance for certain files. The most common reason why a file may be sluggish compared to others is the file size per page. If you’re scanning in your own files, try to use a relatively low DPI—remember that your device’s screen displays much less information than a real piece of paper does. Some other files can perform poorly but also have very small file sizes: this is generally due to the complication of the file itself. If the PDF file contains a large number of images or elements, even very small ones, it can take iOS some time to sort it all out. This is true for every PDF reader that we’ve seen, even Apple’s built-in apps, and is simply a hardware limitation.

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Score metadata is changing automatically

If newly imported scores are “disappearing” from the menus, the app might be reassigning metadata it finds within the PDF file . In this case, the “Automatic fetching for new files” option in the app’s settings panel is enabled, which scans imported music for existing metadata and assigns it to common fields like Title and Composer, among others. Some PDF exporters will generate this metadata automatically, so that’s probably what you’re seeing. If you turn the option off, it will stop scanning the files and retain the file names as the title of the score.

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Unable to add large batches of files

In some cases, transferring a large number of files through iTunes can cause your iOS device to run low on memory or to restart. Because these file transfers are handled by iTunes and iOS directly, we have no control over how they work or how to improve them. Until Apple fixes these problems, the easiest way to avoid this is to copy your files over in smaller batches.
 
If you’ve experienced this issue, we encourage you to submit feedback to Apple so that they can gauge the extent of the problem and respond accordingly.

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